Can Dogs & Cats Really Watch TV?

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Do you ever leave the TV on for your pets when you’re not home? Is your pet your favorite TV-watching buddy?

You certainly enjoy watching TV, but you know animals experience the world differently from us. However, something about the way your dog tilts his head while watching the TV screen makes you wonder, “Can dogs and cats really watch TV?”

What do dogs and cats actually see on TV, and is it different from what we see? Do they actually enjoy watching TV, or are they just facing the screen without paying attention to what’s on it?

Keep reading to find out!

Can Dogs & Cats Really Watch TV?

Yes, dogs and cats really watch TV.

It may come as a surprise, but dogs and cats really can watch TV!

a cat is looking at the TV

The motion on-screen captures their attention, which can stimulate their brains greatly. This is especially healthy for animals that do not go outside or play with other cats or dogs.

If you look closely, when your cat is sitting in front of the TV, it’s actually watching it. Their eyes will glint around the screen, and I’ve even seen some cats slumped on the couch the same way we do!

You may even see their eyes light up when you flip to a channel with more pet-oriented content, like a nature documentary.

What Do Your Dogs & Cats Really See on TV?

Dogs and cats see our TVs differently from us.

Dogs’ and cats’ eyes are a little different from ours, resulting in them seeing different colors and details.

Let’s go over what dogs and cats really see when you flip the TV on.


Dogs pay most attention to movement on-screen, so that’s most likely the first thing they notice.

Their eyes also perceive color differently. You’ve probably heard that dogs are color blind and see the world in black and white, but this is incorrect.

four dogs is watching TV

Although dogs don’t see all the colors we do, they can see some, specifically yellow, green, and blue. They do not, however, see red.

So, don’t be surprised if your dog asks you why the children in It are so tempted by Pennywise’s gray balloon.

Dogs also have a slightly weaker vision than us, so they may not see all of the film’s subtle details.


It’s widely known that cats have much better vision than us, specifically at night.

They also have stronger vision than we do, which is why you may find your cat staring at something your weak eyes can’t see.

cat is watching TV

Like dogs, cats can only see three colors: blue, green, and red.

So, it’s no surprise why they found The Boy Who Turned Yellow utterly confusing.

Like dogs, cats pay attention to movement, especially if it’s other animals on-screen.

Do They Enjoy Watching TV?

Yes, they enjoy watching TV.

Dogs and cats don’t just endure TV time, they actually enjoy it!

The exciting images on the TV screen can engage them, and they often become curious about where the sounds and pictures are coming from.

Because we’re almost one-hundred percent certain that cats and dogs don’t know how TV actually works, they usually think that whatever they see on TV is real life.

cat is looking at the lion on TV

I’ve had to hold my cat back from knocking down my laptop while watching Blue Planet because he was so engaged with the fish on-screen. He even began making the same noises he makes to birds in real life!

For animals that don’t have the opportunity to walk around in nature, this is a great way to tap into their natural instincts, which they definitely enjoy doing.

Some pets, however, are especially sensitive. Dogs, in particular, can become frightened by loud noises on TV, leading them to panic and act out.

So, if your pet is a little timid and delicate, it’s best to avoid watching films with loud, sudden noises while they’re in the room with you.

What Do Dogs and Cats Enjoy Watching on TV?

Dogs and cats enjoy watching other animals on TV.

Unfortunately, your pet isn’t going to enjoy watching Law and Order or Bridgerton with you.

Because these animals belong in nature, they prefer to watch other animals moving around the screen. In particular, they enjoy watching their natural prey scurry about.

a cat is looking at the fish on the TV screen

Both dogs and cats like watching birds, fish, and other small animals. Cats will also enjoy bird songs since they’re most attracted to sound.

But, ensure you stay in the room with them while watching nature documentaries, since some animals tend to pounce on the screen.

If your pet is a bird-lover, we suggest watching Birds of Passage – A Secret Journey Through the Skies.

ALT +++ BLOCKED +++ Birds of Passage - A Secret Journey Through the Skies | Free Documentary Nature

Or, are they more interested in creatures from under the sea? If so, check out Ocean Life and Nature Documentary – Amazing Underwater Marine Life.

No matter your pet’s niche, you can surely find something to watch that is as interesting for them as it is for you!

Wrapping Things Up

Dogs and cats enjoy being entertained, and watching TV is a great way to amuse your bored house pet!

They usually prefer non-animated nature clips, especially if it features animals they’d hunt in the wild.

Although they won’t see it exactly how we do, it can still be just as fascinating.

So, call your pet to the couch and settle in for a riveting nature documentary. We promise you’ll have more fun watching your pet than actually watching the TV!

Do you watch TV with your dog or cat? Do you think they enjoy it?

Let us know in the comments below!

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